One of the biggest question marks for Iowa entering the 2020 offseason is at quarterback. Who replaces Nate Stanley, a three-year starter at that position? Well, it looks like the race for that spot is going to be a little less crowded this spring:
#Iowa QB Peyton Mansell is in the transfer portal. Appeared in five games in 2018 but didn't play this past season.— Adam Rittenberg (@ESPNRittenberg) January 8, 2020
This doesn't feel like a particularly shocking development, given the events of this season. While Mansell was the backup on the depth chart in 2018, he was replaced by Spencer Petras in that role after the 2019 fall training camp. Petras was the only QB other than Stanley to see action this year -- he saw action in a handful of games in 2019 and went 6/10 for 25 yards (0 TD, 0 INT) this season. Mansell saw action in five games in 2018 and went 5/8 for 83 yards and an interception. He also ran the ball eight times for 31 yards and a touchdown.
Petras will be a redshirt sophomore in 2020 with three years of eligibility, while Mansell would be a redshirt junior with two years of eligibility; he may not have felt like there was a path to meaningful playing time for him at Iowa with Petras edging ahead of him on the depth chart. Mansell may have had an opportunity to stake his claim to the QB1 job during spring practice, but if the coaches favor Petras now (and the depth chart and their playing time decisions this year would support that position), then he may not have felt like his odds of overtaking Petras were very good.
Mansell's departure would leave Iowa at two scholarship QBs in spring -- Petras and redshirt freshman Alex Padilla -- although they'll be back at three scholarship QBs in the summer when incoming freshman Deuce Hogan arrives with the rest of the 2020 recruiting class. Given his experience and familiarity with the Iowa offense, though, Mansell looked like the main challenger to Petras as Iowa's starting QB next season; if he is heading elsewhere, Petras' hold on that job looks even firmer.
It's disappointing to see Mansell decide to head elsewhere, given how enthusiastic he was about Iowa as a member of the 2017 recruiting class. Mansell was also an intriguing prospect for Iowa given his running ability -- we haven't seen that level of mobility and elusiveness from Iowa QBs in recent years, and that skillset could have added an interesting wrinkle to Iowa's offense. But QB battles are hard and we certainly don't begrudge him for wanting to find a situation where he can get more playing time. Best of luck to Peyton as he moves forward.